How to Take Care of Yourself When You’re Caring for a Loved One


As a caregiver, you’re no stranger to physical and emotional exhaustion. But if you’re like many other caregivers, you may have come to accept that living in a relentlessly drained state is just part of your role. But what if it wasn’t? What if there were realistic ways to foster your own health and well-being and recharge each day?


Fortunately, there are! And practicing self-care not only helps you, but it will also allow you to provide your loved one with better care. Consider these practical self-care tips from Senior Care Central to help you start your new life:

Delegate Household Tasks

When you are a caregiver, your home should be a peaceful retreat to which you can go after a long day. That applies whether you live with your loved one or not. The problem is, if you are busy, trying to fit in all of your household tasks to keep your home well-maintained can stress you out. Rather than let that happen, think about services that you can hire out to others.

Socialize on the Regular

Caregiving can be extremely isolating. And you might feel like you don’t have time to spend with other important people in your life. However, as a social being, it is critical to interact and maintain relationships with close friends and relatives. Try to carve out time in your schedule for others, and it will improve your overall quality of life.

One option is planning fun outings either for just you, or for you and your loved one. These could include a trip to the park or a museum, or perhaps a baseball game where you can sit and relax in the fresh air. For instance, you can browse ticket prices for the Dodgers well in advance, and you don’t have to worry about hidden fees getting between you and that stadium hot dog.

Focus Your Nutrition

This is probably no surprise to you, but it’s worth repeating, your diet matters a great deal. Try eating clean foods for a month and see if you don’t notice big changes in how you feel. You can start simply by basing your diet around lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Exercise Every Day 

One of the most effective ways to reduce stress in your life is to work out on a regular basis. There are countless physical activities that can help you break a sweat and get those endorphins flowing! Don’t be afraid to try everything from running to cycling, from weightlifting to yoga. And try to exercise outdoors whenever possible to get the added benefits of sunshine.

Do Breathing Exercises

There are many different types of breathing exercises that can benefit your mental health. But one of the easiest ones to start with is breath awareness.

Sit in a comfortable position on a cushion or chair, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. You will probably have distracting thoughts, but keep focusing on your breath and they will pass. Then, take a slow breath through your nose for five seconds, hold your breath for five seconds, and exhale for five seconds. Do this repeatedly for ten minutes, and you will notice a deep relaxation come over your mind, body, and soul.

Sleep and Relax

When you’re stressed out, it can be really difficult to sleep. But there is no way you can be an effective caregiver and maintain your quality of life long-term if you live in a sleep-deprived state.

Be conscious of the caffeine you consume and the food you eat after lunch and find relaxing activities you can do before bed that will help you unwind. Pick up a print book, take a long bath, or do some light yoga stretches. And make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool.

If you want to be the best caregiver you can be without sacrificing your mental health in the process, it’s essential to practice self-care. The ideas above can get you off to a great start, but keep looking for other ways you can foster your health and wellness as you carry out one of the hardest jobs in the world. In no time, you’ll find yourself feeling better, becoming more patient, and getting more out of your everyday life!


By |2022-02-16T15:22:41-05:00February 20th, 2022|News Posts|Comments Off on How to Take Care of Yourself When You’re Caring for a Loved One

Caregiver Stress: Tackling Tough Decisions In the Age of COVID

Caring for and making decisions for an aging and sick parent is never easy. But as the coronavirus continues to complicate matters for older adults, it can be even more challenging to know how and when to step in. However, sometimes choices must be made, and when that time comes, it pays to be prepared. Senior Care Central explains what you need to consider.

How Does the Virus Affect Seniors?

Scientists and doctors have made inroads in pandemic research, and all are resolute in reporting that older adults are in the highest risk category. As Johns Hopkins explains, those over age 60 with pre-existing conditions, such as lung disease and diabetes, are at the greatest risk. For these reasons, if you are caring for a senior with a health condition, the decisions you make now are that much more important to their overall health and well-being.

Getting It Together

Even if you’ve already discussed your senior loved one’s wants and wishes, you may not be legally able to make decisions if they take a turn for the worse unless you have legal documents in place. Elder Protection Center lists the most pertinent of these as a medical directive, power of attorney for health care, power of attorney for finances, revocable trust, and a will.

Each of these documents allows you to give direction in different areas. For example, the healthcare power of attorney lets you quickly make decisions about things like medical treatment in case your loved one is incapacitated. Becoming appointed as the executor of a will gives you the power to carry out their final wishes as far as their estate and belongings go. Making arrangements while your loved one is able ensures their wishes are met.

Hospice Care

As your loved one declines, it may be necessary to arrange for hospice care. If your loved one’s illness worsens and they cannot take care of themselves and they need assistance maintaining a medical condition or hands-on care when it comes to bathing, dressing, and eating, it’s likely time for hospice care to take over. You might even be attempting this care yourself, but find yourself in a burnout situation, in which case a professional is the best choice for you both.

Financing the Future

If your loved ones’ needs outweigh their ability to continue in their current living situation, it might be necessary to sell their home to cover expenses. Keep in mind, however, that the real estate market has changed in response to COVID-19.

First, find out what you can earn from the sale of the home by running some calculations online. It’s also a good idea to learn about your local market to help with your decisions. You can get a better idea of what their home might sell for by doing some research on market trends in the area. If their property value has dropped dramatically, it may be wise to wait and use other means to pay for expenses until the market perks back up.

For instance, you could rent out the property to generate income to cover your loved one’s living expenses. Just bear in mind that by turning the home into a rental, you or your loved one will be responsible for tenant vetting, maintenance and upkeep. You’ll also need to gauge the cost of local rentals. Denver apartment rentals right now are averaging $1,874 for a one-bedroom. If this seems like an ideal scenario, you can also work with a property manager to handle rental operations for a small percentage.

Key Takeaways

  • The coronavirus affects senior citizens, and that can make it more difficult for caregivers to make decisions about their well-being.
  • Without having legal documents in place, any decisions you do make may not be carried out.
  • Real estate prices may affect your loved one’s ability to pay for care, and research may be needed when facing a home sale.

Again, it’s not easy to make decisions for a loved one, particularly one who has a life-limiting illness and may not be able to offer input. But as a caretaker, making decisions is something that you have to do. As the world continues to remain uncertain, having a plan in place now can save you and your entire family from indecision and heartache during what is surely one of the most stressful times of your life.





By |2022-02-10T15:23:29-05:00February 10th, 2022|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Caregiver Stress: Tackling Tough Decisions In the Age of COVID

Caregiver Tips: Planning for Long-Term Cancer Care

Caregivers for long-term cancer care

Long-term cancer care supports cancer patients throughout their treatment journey. Patients diagnosed with cancer may choose a friend or family member as their cancer caregiver. When taking on the role of caregiver, make sure to understand how to best assist them. Here are some tips below to help get you started.


Tip 1: Understand the diagnosis of your cancer patient and how it affects them

Aggressive Cancers

Being a cancer caregiver opens up new responsibilities and challenges. There are many types of caregiving that provide help for the general health and wellbeing of patients. With cancer caregiving, patients often require specialized help. You may be familiar with senior or disability caregiving, but certain cancers are more difficult to manage. For example, breast cancer is common but involves a different caregiving approach than mesothelioma cancer. Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer of the lungs that typically targets older adults.

There is currently no available cure for mesothelioma. This results in a 79 percent, 1-year survival rate, even with multimodal treatment—which combines one or two cancer treatments. Cancer patients and caregivers may have many questions surrounding treatment. For this reason, caregiver resources help plan and ease long-term mesothelioma cancer care. Take time to understand the type of cancer your patient has and how mesothelioma will affect them physically, mentally, and socially. The decision to have long-term cancer care is hard on the patient, too. Caregivers relieve some of the burdens patients will have. With this in mind, preparing for your patients will help you fully grasp this role.

It’s also crucial to work with the doctors and cancer teams to provide quality care. Depending on what type of caregiver you are, your responsibilities could change. More qualified caregivers may have to administer medications. Connecting with the doctor will help the cancer team with their prognosis strategy and your patient’s long-term cancer care. This will also help you better understand the patient’s needs.

Tip 2: Keep the patient, family and friends involved

It can be devastating when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer. Putting in the effort to work with your patient and their family will make them feel included and comfortable during this difficult time. Caregivers spend a lot of time with patients. By creating healthy relationships with them, you can give them the support and encouragement they need. Often, treatment is hard on patients and takes long recovery times. You will be one of their biggest advocates.

Tip 3: Pay attention to how you feel

Amidst the distress you and your patient will undergo, it’s vital to check in on yourself. It may seem as though your feelings aren’t as valid as those you are helping, but that isn’t the case. You won’t be able to fully care for your patient if you’re not caring for yourself as well. To avoid burnout, dedicate time for yourself to process your emotions and feelings, especially because of how draining long-term cancer caregiving can be.

If you are taking a cancer caregiver position, keep these tips in mind. Caregiving is not babysitting. Patients and their families rely on caregivers to handle what they cannot. Taking on this role is both an immense commitment and a privilege.



By |2021-08-09T14:39:42-05:00August 9th, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Caregiver Tips: Planning for Long-Term Cancer Care